Huge airport planned in pristine portion of Panhandle

08/22/07 Robert Lorei
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The Army Corps of Engineers last week gave approval to wipe out 2,000 acres of Panhandle wetlands to build a $330-million airport near Panama City.

The permit from the corps is the last one developers need to begin construction of the taxpayer-funded airport.

The St. Joe Company, the Panhandle's biggest developer, is donating the land which is 20 miles from the current Panama City airport. The total size of the new airport will be 4,000 acres, larger than Tampa International Airport.

Environmentalists, including our guest Linda Young of the Clean Water Network say the project will be a boondoggle that will open a wide area of pristine Florida to more sprawl and unchecked growth.

Young says the taxpayers will be on the hook for the cost of the airport, which she says is unlikely to be able to generate enough money to pay off taxpayer-backed bonds. She also says that developers will wipe out wetlands and bring unwanted growth to an area where residents have already said they down't want the St. Joe's corportaion to destroy their way of life.

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